29. Our Parts: My Child, Teen, and Adult

Most people can relate to the idea that there is a part of them that wants to behave like a baby

sometimes; to give up and to be looked after. It’s that part of us that pulls the duvet over our head when the alarm goes off. Or the vulnerable side of us that affectionately curls up with their loved one and wants to be brought treats and tea. Or the person we become that gives up during work meetings when we can’t get our point across or no one is listening to us. It’s an aspect of our human experience that’s generally characterised by taking no action, submitting and wishing to be rescued or helped. This is the child part.

Then there is the teenager. Most of us can recognise this part by going to visit our parents’ house. We might arrive as fine, functional, independent adults, but when we get back to the original family dynamic, we can become difficult, boisterous, grumpy, sabotaging teens. It can happen at any age. This is the part of us that says “whatever” to consequences and does stuff anyway. It might be a prank at work that we know is going to go down badly. Or not turning up for something we’d committed to, because we can’t really be bothered. Or being rude to our partner and not caring if that hurts them. This adolescent energy is the place from which we quit our job on a whim and tell everyone at work what we really think of them. It is often great fun and we can have a great time in this part of ourselves, but the high usually wears off as the longer-term consequences become clearer.

These consequences are then taken care of by our adult. Our adult part is cooperative, measured, and able to collaborate with the world and the people around us for everyone’s mutual gain. This is the place in all of us that makes the world work. It’s where we do our best parenting and have the most functional personal relationships. We take care of our health, our environment, our families, our community and our world from this place. The adult sees things clearly, unburdened by too much emotion, and figures out solutions to problems, usually together with others. This is a very useful person to be.

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